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Navigating the Career Bumps

Monday April 15 2013    |     Views: 2975    |     Comments: 0   |     Print    Bookmark and Share


It's all about your perspective. You can determine a positive outcome through a positive outlook.
It's all about your perspective. You can determine a positive outcome through a positive outlook.

Careers can be quite a challenge. Right from school, we are faced with big decisions of choosing the right career. After school, the challenges mount even higher. But what if our reactions to the situations we are faced with is all that makes the difference in our lives? Consider these two alternate situations:

 

While at University:
Dear lecturer,
Four years into my degree programme and I still do not understand what you are talking about. However I can see the end in sight so I will try to endure. Please just try not to give me any other “F”s so I don't have an extra year as a whole new world awaits me in the corporate world where I can act important, wear smart dresses and tailored suits in return for a fat pay check. I am sure all you have been teaching has no application in real world so I do not really need to listen to your boring lectures. The world awaits me.


After graduation:
Dear recruiter,
I graduated from university about 3 years ago with not so good grades from an equally not so good university. I completed my NYSC as demanded by my country but whilst in my place of primary assignment, no one would teach me anything or let me use equipments. Everything was too important and confidential to be shared and everyone was too busy to care about me. So I was relegated to making photocopies, carrying files around from table to table or buying food for my superiors at work. Suffice to say it was one year of my life wasted. Now  I am on the job market with no skills, no experience, half baked qualifications and no creativity or innovation to create wealth through means other than paid employment.  How do I get a job when all these odds are stacked against my favour?

 

Then you get lucky:
Dear Boss,
I have been in this same position for 5 years without a promotion or salary raise doing the same mundane task day in day out?  No one told me it would be like this. This whole corporate world is not as cranked up as I thought. Most days I feel like a fraud as I go to work for I know my role is not so important but I guess it beats being on the job market again. It is bad enough I wasted so much time between graduation and now and at this rate, I would still be working when using my Zimmer frame. I do not even see how this role fits into the big picture yet I have to leave home at 5.30am to get to work before 8am and then close after you have finished fraternizing with your clients during work hours and you return with impossible deadlines which must be completed before I head home. You call it networking, I call it faffing around.  I want to quit but if I do, I know my chances of getting another job are slim to none seeing that there is a multitude of “Job seekers” out there so unfortunately I have to put up with this dead end job. I am already doing most of your work as it is all under the guise of 'delegation'. Please free me.

 

Then finally promotion comes:
Dear colleague,
I am well aware of your backstabbing and politics. Late nights at the chairman's house, attending every function,  politicking and “politricking”, playing dirty just to get ahead. You spend all your time coming up with schemes on how to fault my strategy or ideas just to get ahead. Be warned, there is only room for one at the top.  
Sounds familiar?  Most of us have some if not all of these emotions at some point in life. Is it then right to say it may have nothing to do with your job, boss or the economy but everything to do with your attitude and approach to life?  

 

But what if your letters read like  this:

While at University:
Dear lecturer,
I find the whole theory of molecules quite challenging but I am keen to understand it. It would be a shame to spend 4 years and leave without making sense of this. Can you refer me to books or other materials I can read up to better aid my understanding of these complex topics? Or better still let me Google it and see what comes up. I may find videos that will help me visualize this and then I can come back with questions. I would also like to know the top performers in class so I can go to them for explanations. Truth is, I may not know how practicable these courses are in terms of real life applications, but since no knowledge is wasted, I hope to make the best of this season of structured learning.

 

After graduation:
Dear recruiter,
I graduated from university and I am currently unemployed but hopeful for the future. In my time away from work, I have used the chance to learn a new skill, done some free online courses and I have also volunteered at a start up company helping out with customer services and admin stuff so I can learn about the work place. While I do not have all the relevant skills for this job, I can assure you I am quite teachable and  for an opportunity. I am reliable, have a positive attitude to life and I am the kind of person who you can train, coach or mentor for the future. Give me a chance to add value to myself and to the organisation.

 

Then you get lucky:
Dear Boss,
I have been in this same position for 5 years without a promotion or salary raise. In my time here I have contributed to the growth of the department's revenue and  improved operational excellence by reducing turnaround time for deliverables and clients. I have worked on several successful projects and I was pivotal in completion of project Arise within timescale and budget. My efforts resulting in increase in scope of work resulting in more revenue for the company.
I have also completed my certification exams and sponsored myself on  several role and industry related trainings. I therefore believe I am most suitable for the next level, challenges and responsibilities within the organisation and I would like to be considered for it. I am happy to do it in an acting capacity for a probationary period to demonstrate I am most suitable for this role.

 

Then finally promotion comes:
Dear colleague,
I am a strong advocate of collaboration not competition. It builds successful teams and businesses. I am happy to assist you with challenges you are facing as my core competence is in relationship management while I can leverage on your strong financial background. Together we can be formidable and be the A team.  Can we meet over lunch and discuss in more details how we can synergize for success?  See you on top!

 

Remember what differentiates you from another person in the same predicament is how you react to a situation. It's all about your perspective. You can determine a positive outcome through a positive outlook.  Be in charge, keep positive, have faith, see the glass as half full, do what you can and always hope for the best. Cheers to 2013.


by Uche Lotanna-Anajemba




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